ISLAMABAD: Health experts on Wednesday stressed public awareness of healthy eating habits as the open sale of unhygienic and leftover food items on the roadside is one of the major causes of seasonal diseases among the public in summer when the ratio of diseases increased to around 50 to 70 percent. The Health authorities should tighten the grip around such roadside vendors and shopkeepers, who sell eatables in unhygienic conditions,” a general physician Dr. Syed Ali Haider urged while speaking to a private news channel. He emphasized that government needs to embark on a media sensitization program on the risk of roadside foods, as well as ensure that adequate measures are taken to improve the environment where roadside foods are prepared. The vendors should be mandated to use clean water and sell summer food in a healthy environment for the safety of citizens, he added. Another health expert Dr. Asad Sadiq said unhygienic street foods mostly witnessed sold around educational institutions, offices and streets which are posing a serious health risk among citizens. Experts said that authorities concerned should direct roadside vendors to adopt strict safety measures like using disposable utensils, paper glasses, and proper covering of edibles. Dr. Asad said the drinks and food prepared in unhygienic ways can cause various diseases like diarrhea, jaundice, typhoid, cholera, and paratyphoid. High consumption of street food is extremely dangerous as it can cause several diseases. These foods are made out of ingredients that are difficult for the body to break down and digest, Dr added. “Makeshift hotel and stall are required to keep their kitchen, pots, and utensils clean but most outlets are not following the directions”, Dr Tahira Mahjabeen added. She lamented that road vendors are more focused on their business rather than the public health, however, there is urgent need to launch a special awareness campaign for the citizens to discourage the selling unhygienic food items on bus terminals and streets. Many vendors have set up their food stalls in places surrounded by flies, mosquitoes and drainage water which is dangerous, Dr Mahjabeen said, adding, that these stalls must be brought to ensure clean environments and hygienic food for consumers.